Entertainment commerce – missing the boat on streaming

Graphic: thecoast.ca

Remember going over to a friend’s for a lan? If you weren’t a kid in the 90s then probably not, but while copyright holders were busy making those “you wouldn’t steel a hand bag” warnings, the reality of how we entertain changed and they missed it. Apple did not. But because of access issues their video streaming services didn’t really make it across the US border for a while. Amazon prime and Watchever have finally filled the gap, offering a legal option for the streaming which digital natives have been doing for years. However, despite their moves towards combining content and service, it seems that even e-commerce enterprises such as Amazon are still planning on bridging the gap for a while longer. Recent pressure tactics in their battle of the giants with Disney sees Amazon putting a lot of energy into securing a price advantage on DVDs.

DVDs are different from books, they carry no social standing to be measured in inches per shelf, so why bother muscling your way into an industry destined for extinction? If they can get the price down to under 15$ per DVD, this will keep DVDs in the running while we transfer to digital, which isn’t a bad tactic as the transition to online entertainment has taken longer than it had to.

Compulsory consumption is not the answer

One reason for this is that law makers are frantically trying to plug the leaks and row up stream instead of adapting to consumer requirements when it comes to collecting revenue. Germany is the best example of this.

In times past you used to have to pay a fee to support state television and radio services if you used them (e.g. if you owned a TV). Now, because public TV is available via internet you to pay, even if you own neither TV, radio, or are even deaf or blind. Owning a PC, Tablet or large smartphone makes TV about as redundant as owning an e-book. They could have simply offered streaming via subscription – pay for what you use. Instead German law makers decided to make everyone pay because everyone has the potential to consume. The fees for public radio and TV in Germany are about the same as the price of an Amazon Prime subscription and twice the monthly fee for Watchever. Interestingly this fee, which is collected on behalf of TV and Radio stations is not a tax and is charged solely on the basis that a person could access the service. Perhaps if Amazon lobbies hard enough, they could get every household to cough up 16Euro a month for Amazon prime and everyone would be happy. Except people who don’t watch movies. And the competition. But competition is a moot point with Amazon anyway.

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